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The little old gray haired man in the white pajamas still had the boxing instinct despite his 71 years as he squared off to show his fighting pose when he fought with the best of them in the 1920s and early '30s.


To the young boxing buffs, the name of Ignacio Fernandez may not ring a bell. But the old-timers who saw the Filipino dynamo who arrived to New York in 1927, will remember him as the tough little competitor who scored a third round kayo of Al Singer in Madison Square Garden in 1929, among other exciting fights which include a 12 round draw with Ceferino Garcia in Manila.


Fernandez is spending his late years in a hospital ward for the aged in Singapore, penniless and with very few friends who remember him in his glory years. When we visited him recently, his eyes took on a happy gleam as we discussed the happy and prosperous days during which he held his own against the best boxers in Australia, United States, Philippines, and Malaya in an era when Pancho Villa and other little men created explosive excitement in the sport.


Fernandez is a victim of circumstances, having gone through all of his ring earnings, but he accepts it logically as a way of life and old age. He is comfortable in his hospital haven and has a sharp recollection of some of his ring wars. While his life is a dream of the past, he has golden memories when he was a triple title holder in his own homeland.


Managed by the late Jesus Santo Tomas Cortez, who was in close association with the late Frank Churchill, Fernandez came to the United States where he battled world class boxers although never chance for a world title fight. He gave the leading bantamweights, featherweights, and lightweights fits when he climbed into the ring.


In his four Garden appearances he fought Tony Canzoneri, Billy Petrolle and Al Singer twice in the period between 1927 and 1930.


Although he didn't win all of his fights, his opponents (many of whom went on to world championships) read like a “Who's who” in boxing during that era. He fought Abe Goldstein the bantamweight champ; Tony Canzoneri (three times) featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight champ; Bud Taylor, bantamweight champ, Andre Routis, featherweight champ; Frankie Klick, junior lightweight champ, Kid Chocolate, junior lightweight champion, Fidel Labarba, flyweight champion, and Battling Battalino, featherweight champion.


Born in Cebu, Philippine Islands in 1906. Fernandez was a preliminary fighter when Pancho Villa was creating ring history in the United States. Fernandez made some ring history for himself and his rise was meteoric. In 1925 he created a great impression in the Southern Continent, beating Australia's best opponents including Bert Spargo, Syd Godfrey and Billy Grimes.


Following his successful campaign in the Land of the Kangaroos, he returned to Philippines where he battered the daylights out of Kid Nanoy to win the Orient bantam and featherweight belts in five rounds Six weeks later, he won the Orient lightweight crown by knocking out Kid Johnson in eight rounds.


In 1935, Fernandez arrived in Singapore and carried the strongest reputation of any boxer ever to invade the island in those days. Although not good enough to beat the top world rated boxers, he still had enough to beat the best lightweights and welterweights campaigning in the Malayan rings. He won the lightweight tile of the area in 1936 and was kingpin in the local rings for many years.


Like so many fighters before him, Ignacio was a good natured, over generous athlete who never thought about the future. He became the victim of wily managers who took the lions share of his earnings and other investments left him broke and alone when his ring days were over. From RNG boxing magazine, April 1978.



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